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Thousands of Americans try to enter Canada despite coronavirus travel ban

Eighty-seven per cent of rejected travellers were Americans

Graig Graziosi
Monday 06 July 2020 17:16 BST
US and Canada to extend non-essential travel ban to fight pandemic spread

Canadian border authorities have turned away more than 7,500 visitors — mostly Americans — wishing to visit the country over coronavirus concerns.

Canada's government issued a travel ban for visitors from the US on 20 March in an effort to help stem the spread of the pandemic. Despite this ban, thousands of Americans are still trying to enter the country.

According to 604Now, a Vancouver news site, 87 per cent of foreigners turned away at the border between 22 March and 16 June were Americans. The majority were attempting to visit for recreational purposes, and just over 400 were travelling north for "non-essential shopping."

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday that the travel ban issued in March would continue until 21 July. The ban is not a total ban; healthcare workers living and working on opposite sides of the border, temporary foreign workers and people with immediate family in Canada visiting for non-discretionary reasons can still cross the border.

Two Americans were fined in Canada on Saturday after they crossed the border legally but broke the country's quarantine rules.

In Canada, anyone who enters the country has to spend two weeks in quarantine, regardless of their symptoms. Two American men in their 60's who entered Canada within the last two weeks were spotted breaking quarantine in a town in Ontario and were subsequently fined CA$1,000 ($736).

In British Columbia, Premier John Horgan said he's heard reports that Americans are abusing the "Alaska loophole" to bypass the travel ban and visit the province.

Americans travelling to Alaska have been allowed to drive through Canada on the condition they drive directly to the state and social distance anytime they have to stop.

According to the CBC, Mr Horgan said the chief of Pacheedaht First Nation recently found cars with license plates from Texas and California in their community.

"If you're going to Alaska, you don't go through Port Renfrew," Mr Horgan said. "You shouldn't be stopping along the way to enjoy the sights and sounds of British Columbia. That's not part of the plan."

The British Columbia Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry did note that many of the cars with American license plates are likely to be Canadians living in the US who have returned home during the pandemic.

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